For the last three weeks, I’ve prayed the same prayer every morning: that God would multiply the hours of my day. This certainly isn’t one of those super spiritual prayers (you know the prayers I’m talking about — those altruistic prayers that we all tell ourselves we ought to be praying). It’s just an honest one. And one I know God can, and does, answer.
Sometimes he answers this prayer by telling me, no, you don’t need to vacuum today and yes, you can pull two bowls out of the cupboard, fill them with microwaved frozen Trader Joe’s brown rice, Costco chicken meatballs and roasted broccoli, and call it dinner.
We did crowd 11 people around an 8-person dining table for a St. Paddy’s feast — an annual tradition that always, always culminates in these cupcakes. And between then and now, a few notable recipes have passed through my kitchen:
- If you have a leftover sheet of puff pastry in your freezer and some beautiful spring asparagus in your fridge, make this asparagus tart. She recommends gruyere, but I used what I had on hand — bits of leftover mozzarella, asiago and parmesan — and it was delicious.
- If you have some more asparagus (because you got excited about the first good asparagus of the season and bought three bunches at the store), make risotto. This one is a favorite.
- If you want to bake once for two weekends of guests, make these apple and cheddar scones. Bake half of them now and pop the others in the freezer to feed your next visitors. (They’ll be so impressed that you got up extra early just to bake for them.)
- If you want to have a great dinner waiting for you when you get home, make crockpot honey bourbon chicken. (Serve it over another packet of microwavable rice. I won’t tell anyone that you used a whole box this week.)
Looking for something to drink with your meal?
- If it’s a day like today and suddenly, blessedly sunny and 65 degrees outside, open a bottle of Valentin Bianchi New Age White, pour it over ice, and serve with a squeeze of lime juice. It’s like sangria (and summer) in a bottle.
- If it’s back to rainy, early spring weather, pick up a bottle of Nerelo Del Bastardo ($7 at Trader Joe’s) on your way home from work. Serve with chocolate and a good book.